A LESSON PLAN FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS
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Lesson Plan Text
Rare email expressions
The following email expressions are rare and often overused by language learners. What
situation might you use them in, and what are the alternatives?
1. Dear Sir/ Dear Sirs/ Sir
2. To whom it may concern
3. Dear colleagues
4. Dear Alex Case
5. Hello Jennifer
6. Dear John
7. This is Alex Case.
8. Thank you for your kind letter of 5 January.
9. Thank you for taking the time to read this email.
10. Thank you for your cooperation.
11. I look forward to your reply.
13. Yours truly/ Very truly yours
1. This is considered a bit sexist, so “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Sir/ Madam” is better.
2. This is only used when you really have no idea who or how many people will read
something, e.g. when writing a will or a job reference that an employee will take with
them. It is not the same as “Dear Sir or Madam”, and that and “Dear Sir/ Madam” are
much more common.
3. “To: All staff”, “Dear all”, “Hi everyone” and “Hi guys” (in order of formality) are more
4. This is wrong, but might be the only option if you don’t know their gender and you feel
that “Dear Alex” would be too informal.
5. “Dear Jennifer”, “Hello” and “Hi Jennifer” are more common.
6. “Hi John” and “Dear John” (with “How are you?” as the next line) are usually better.
7. We rarely put our name at the beginning of an email. If we really want to introduce
ourselves, we need to use an expression like “I would like to introduce myself” or “I
am.. and I work for…”
8. This is a bit old fashioned. The normal start is “Thank you for your letter of 5 January”,
and if the letter really was kind you can put that in the next line with en expression like
“It was very kind of you to invite me to…”
9. This expression and “Thank you for your kind attention” do exist, but it is rare to use
them in English emails. It is usually better just to use one of the standard email endings
(“I look forward to hearing from you” or “If you have any further questions, please
contact me at any time.”) or just “Thanks”.
10. This is used after explaining a rule, e.g. a memo to all staff about the company smoking
policy. It is not the same as “Thank you in advance”, which is much more common.
11. “I look forward to hearing from you (soon)” is much more common.
12. “Yours sincerely”/ “Sincerely yours” is more common.
13. These expressions are both a bit old fashioned and more used in personal
communications. Other expressions like “Yours” and “Best regards” are more suitable.
Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2011